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The mayor agreed to change the rules for city bikes

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Pedal assist e-bikes at the moment are subject to quite controversial restrictions according to the law. They are often mixed up with the illegal mode of transport “throttle e-bikes”, but unlike them, electric bikes require more human participation. The legal restriction for them is 20mph – the same as for usual bicycles. Supporters of e-bicycles have been trying for many years to make the use of this transport legitimate because they say that this is the best solution to traffic problems especially when public transport often breaks down.

The legislators have finally decided to reconsider the attitude towards this type of transport. In the nearest future, Department of Transportation will start adopting legislation that will help give the e-bikes an official permission to work in New York. There is also some information that e-bikes will get into the experimental dockless bike-share program this summer.

DOT is already considering dozens of applications for obtaining the needed documents.

For the founder of D.C. and former employee of Department of Transportation Ryan Rzepecki this is a very topical issue. He has already promoted the revision of the rules for city bikes in Washington and San Francisco, and now prompts the authorities of New York to follow the leaders of other cities.

Rzepecki explained that the legality of using pedal assist bikes would help people who live far from public transport, or those who for health reasons cannot use ordinary bicycles. He also emphasizes that pedal assist e-bikes should be available for everyone.

A lot of competition is represented by a Chinese company OFO, which will present an e-bike in the US market this year.

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Contested Upper West Side skyscraper does not skirt zoning rules, says city

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The city’s Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) have announced their decision to allow the 668-foot residential building, being developed by SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan America, to rise at 200 Amsterdam Avenue. The decision is a blow to opponents of the contested project, who alleged that the project abuses the zoning rights of the odd-shaped parcel of land that the building is being constructed on.

Earlier this year, in what was its latest push to prevent the project from moving forward, activist group Committee for Environmentally Sound Development, led by neighborhood preservationist group Landmark West!, discovered a 1978 Department of Buildings memo that the group concluded misinterpreted the department’s own rules regarding how air rights can be assembled to allow for taller buildings. The BSA held a meeting to hear that argument for that case, however, they ultimately decided with developers, citing that the building’s proposed design does not skirt the law.

“Throughout an exhaustive [Department of Buildings] audit and subsequent BSA review, we have consistently demonstrated that 200 Amsterdam was meticulously designed in strict accordance to the NYC zoning code,” the developers said in a statement. “The BSA’s decision today is further validation that this building fully conforms with all requirements.”

But the fight to halt the project may not be over just yet. According to Crain’s, neighborhood groups are exploring the possibility of a lawsuit and Council Member Helen Rosenthal called the decision a setback, but not the final word. “We will review the details of the decision and consider our next steps, including further legal action and potential policy reforms,” said Rosenthal in a statement.

Source: https://ny.curbed.com/2018/7/17/17582504/200-amsterdam-construction-zoning-challenge-decision

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Barges are big in New York’s $100 million freight plan

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New York City has a $100 million plan for a new freight distribution system that would build barge terminals in Brooklyn and at the Hunts Point wholesale food center in the Bronx, to bring food and consumer goods by water instead of roads.

Some 90% of goods sold in the city now arrive by truck – much of it carried just a few miles on the map, but take hours to deliver in traffic, from containership ports in New Jersey. That over-the-road freight volume is forecast to increase 68% by 2045, according to the New York Economic Development Corporation.

Maritime transport is the answer, along with reactivating underutilized rail lines and constructing new trans-loading facilities and passing lanes within the existing rights of way, EDC officials said Monday in announcing the plan. Dubbed Freight NYC, the plan includes a new barge terminal at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Sunset Park, and calls for finding a private partner to build a new urban distribution center of at least 500,000 square feet at the nearby Brooklyn Army Terminal.

“A city with our robust waterways and railways shouldn’t be moving 90% of cargo by truck,” said Mark Chambers, director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “With smart investment and good, well-paying jobs, Freight NYC will lift New York City’s economy while lowering traffic and pollution.”

The plan comes at a time when terminal and barge operators are looking at opportunities to expand short-sea shipping as an intermodal link between ports including Norfolk, Va., Philadelphia, New York and north to New England. Container-on-barge services are being marketed as a more efficient alternative to shipping by truck along the crowded I-95 corridor through the Northeast.

The State University of New York Maritime College (SUNY Maritime) will host a Sept. 27 conference on short-sea shipping for the region.

Capt. Eric Johansson, a professor of marine transportation and SUNY Distinguished Service professor, said the conference “is an opportunity for urban and regional planners, terminal operators, educational institutions and labor organizations to learn how to integrate marine highways into their policies and plans.”

The event will feature speakers from the EDC, American Maritime Partnership, McAllister Towing and Transportation Co. Inc., the U.S. Department of Transportation, Ports America, Tote Services, Crowley Maritime Corp., Norfolk Tug Company, Red Hood Container Terminal LLC, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Harbor Harvest and others.

One of the U.S. Maritime Administration’s 25 designated marine highway routes includes New York, and the city with terminal operators is seeking to expand shipping through the Red Hook Container Terminal in Brooklyn.

Mike Stamatis, president and CEO of Red Hook Container Terminal, said the plan “provides tangible short-term investment in vital maritime and rail infrastructure. Red Hook Container Terminal proudly stands with the (city) administration and looks forward to joint efforts to activate the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal to create excellent jobs, connect the city to the global economy, reduce highway congestion and improve air quality.”

“We support the Freight NYC initiative, which would expand American-flag shipping. We are longtime backers of short-sea shipping and believe this project will help kick-start it. We’re especially excited about the potential for job growth in the U.S.-flag maritime sector,” said Joseph Soresi, vice president of the Seafarers International Union.

Source: https://www.workboat.com/news/coastal-inland-waterways/barges-are-big-in-new-yorks-100-million-freight-plan/

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Legionnaires’ cases double in NYC neighborhood

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New York City health officials have confirmed 16 cases of Legionnaires’ disease in one Manhattan neighborhood.

The city Health Department said Sunday that seven people have been hospitalized due to Legionnaires’ in the lower Washington Heights area. No deaths have been reported.

Health officials say they have inspected 20 cooling towers and ordered several building owners to increase their use of biocides to kill the bacteria associated with the disease.

Legionnaires’ is a form of pneumonia contracted by breathing in water droplets contaminated with the bacterium Legionella. Most cases can be traced to plumbing systems where conditions are favorable for Legionella growth.

The disease is not passed from person to person.

The city sees an average of 200 to 500 Legionnaires’ cases each year.

Source: https://apnews.com/cb098c667e0d4a708c86bde2f35293b5

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